Writing Prompts: Finding the Dark Side of Spring

Spring is stereotyped as a time of renewal, high energy, and face-splitting smiles. But writers know it’s effective to go against expectations. And so I am happy to present you with cheerful images and dark possibilities to go with them.
forsythia blooming in spring
Consider that these forsythia are thriving because of the dead body that is fertilizing them. Who? How? When? Why? Now what?
tulips in spring
Every spring the parks and canal banks in Ottawa are awash in tulips. This year, a man goes berserk. Describe and explain his behavior.
mailbox surrounded by flowers in spring
One lovely day a woman looks at her mailbox and weeps. It was this time last spring when she received . . .
azaleas blooming in spring
Walking in the woods, your character pauses to admire an early-blooming azalea and notices a hand protruding from the leaf mulch. Is it attached to a body? What does s/he think—and do?
A  woman walks past a neighbor’s yard and sees grape hyacinths, bleeding heart, and primroses in bloom. She had all of those at her former house. What happened, what is she feeling and thinking?
vinca blooming in spring
A child finds a gun and buries is under the vinca, knowing this to be a perennial runs rampant. Where was the gun? Why did the child bury it? What will happen next?
spiderwort blooming in spring
Your character suffers from extreme arachnophobia. It is so severe that even seeing a spiderwort plant sets off the reaction. Where did the fear of spiders come from? What happens when the phobia is triggered?
dogwood blooming in spring
The last tulip magnolia bloom is about to go. What does that mean to your character?

Your character stops to admire a dogwood and notices the crows gathered nearby. Looking down, s/he sees . . .

lamium blooming in spring
A barefoot toddler dashes into a patch of lamium. Within seconds, toes have been replaced by pink blooms. Soon. . .
poppy leaves in spring
These young poppy leaves are growing in the vegetable garden. How did they come to be there? What will happen to them? Suppose they are mixed into a salad of field greens. Then what?
columbine blooming in spring
Takeaway for writers: nothing is too pretty, cheerful, or innocent to hide a dark side.

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